The splendour that is Nepal remains an Eternal Fascination for me. The mountains and her people, the temples and the rituals. Two weeks in Nepal was only a taste!
Tucked in between India and China, the Kingdom of Nepal is the jewel of the region. Her majesty and peaks an inspiration to millions who dream of trekking to the region, only a select few able to reach the summit of Everest. My first, and definitely not to be the last trek to Nepal gave me a magnificent introduction to the country, her culture and her peaks.
I travelled with Peregrine Adventures who took care of everything I could need on my first visit. I was greeted at the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu airport and taken to their host hotel. With the rest of the day to myself, I set out into the streets of Kathmandu to explore. One could describe the streets as nothing short of chaotic. Cars, buses, motorcycles and rickshaws clambering for the same space! One must remember that cows are sacred here, and free to roam the streets! So, if a cow decides to take a wander down the streets of town – well, you can imagine as everyone tries to get around her!
Our tour in Kathmandu included a trip to the Bodhnath Stupa – the largest in Nepal. This is an area of deep religious significance to the Nepalese, and their customs need to be respected. One must walk in a clockwise direction when visiting the stupa. If not travelling with a tour group, afternoons are a good time to visit when the tours leave and Bodhnath returns to normal.
Take your time to visit and experience the culture. You will be able to watch the painting of thangkas and the weaving of rugs.
Climbing in the Everest region is nothing short of breathtaking. Mount Everest, named after Sir George Everest, sits at a stunning 8850 m above sea level and growing. Travelling with Peregrine Adventures meant that we had all the bests lunch spots and hostels chosen in advance. We ate like kings and queens, and were introduced to some of the locals. Our guide pointed out some of the better places to take pictures and shared stories about the region. We were warned about sharing trail space with yaks – they don’t share so well! Particularly exciting was meeting and talking with some of the trekkers who were preparing to summit.
We spent two nights in Namche Bazaar to help with acclimatization before moving on to the final stop on our way up to the Tengboche Monestary. We had the privilege to watch the blessing of the climbers in a deeply moving ceremony at the Monestary. That night over hot tea and dinner, in the cozy warmth of our hostel, our group watched as some young monks used siding to snowboard down the hill.
Nepal will always hold a place near and dear to my heart. I look forward to the opportunity to visit again – soak in more of the mountains, trek to regions I have yet to see. On my first night in the mountains, our group met another group coming down who had climbed in the Gokyo Ri region. This is definitely on my bucket list for Nepal. The stories coming from the group were inspiring and tales of the scenery – nothing short of amazing. I have also been told that a trip out to Chitwan National Park is worth the journey. That would be bucket list item #2 on my return to Nepal.
Namaste! As defined by Mahatma Gandhi: In India when people meet and part they often say, Namaste’ which means: “I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”